If you are called to receive communion this weekend (remember, the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday has been suspended during the pandemic), things will look very different than a normal Mass. The Diocese of Green Bay is taking a phased approach. The current phase is phase 1. This phase allows for the reception of Communion Outside of Mass. This short Rite allows Jesus’ disciples to receive communion in a way that is safe and responsibly prevents the spread of the virus. This phase will last at least until June 13.
Things that are new or different can be challenging. Knowing what to expect when you arrive will help you to encounter the peace of love of Jesus in Holy Communion. If you read this article and look at the attached map carefully, it will help put you at ease as you have a clearer idea of what to expect. Continue to be gentle with yourself and others as we walk through phase 1 of rebooting our sacramental life.
As disciples of Jesus, we trust in His promise to be with us always. Jesus promises, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you” (Jn. 14:18).
If you come to receive Holy Communion Outside of Mass during phase 1 here is what you can expect:
- First, prepare yourself to receive communion before you come to church by watching a live streamed Mass or reading the scriptures for the day or praying a rosary or some other way to prepare to encounter Jesus in Holy Communion.
- Holy Communion will be available at St. Thomas More from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm.
- Wear a mask when you are at church.
- When you arrive at church, you will be waiting outside, social distanced, until it is your turn to enter the church building. Please be prepared to wait outside if needed and follow the markings on the ground to keep proper social distance (households that live together can stay together outside). There will be greeters to help make this a smooth process.
- Your temperature will be taken before you enter church to ensure that you do not have a fever.
- There will be two entrances used
- If you have mobility issues, you are encouraged to use Door 1 (school entrance). At Door 1 you will enter and exit from opposite sides of this entrance.
- If you enter from Door 2 (Church entrance), you will exit the church on the back (East) side and will need to walk around the church to the parking lot.
- You will use hand sanitizer as you enter and leave the church building.
- As your group of 8 or fewer enters the church, they will follow the paths marked out to their communion station (one in the fellowship hall, one in the gathering space, and one in the church near the altar). Please do not touch anything while you are in the church building.
- Once you are at your communion station, there will be a short Rite of Reception of Holy Communion (about 5 minutes). You will stand around the deacon distributing communion on spots that are marked for you during the service to preserve social distancing.
- The short liturgy of Communion Outside of Mass includes a greeting, the Lord’s prayer, communion, and a closing prayer
- The deacon presiding will be wearing a mask
- We are asking you to receive communion in the hand
- You will remove your mask to receive communion and no one will be allowed to receive Holy Communion wearing gloves
- No one will be allowed to take Holy Communion from the church for another person. If there is a need for this, please call the office.
- After the Rite you will follow the marked path and return outside. You can then return to the parking lot. Please do not gather anywhere on the church grounds after receiving Holy Communion.
Many people have worked to make this safe process possible and have been involved in preparing and executing this plan, including medical personnel, law enforcement, and other experts. Be sure to thank them for all their dedication to this process and be kind to our volunteers.
As we travel this new territory of Phase 1 it is important to remember that we are encountering the Lord in Holy Communion. The Lord is walking with us through these phases of rebooting. He is revealing Himself to us in new ways and inviting us to deeper patience and love for one another. God is still God and we are His people.
My prayer is that we are called to be together soon. May God continue to bless us abundantly as we journey to the kingdom.